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SAN ANTONIO-H-E-B tightened its stranglehold on its hometown market with the purchase of nine of the 32 stores abandoned by Albertsons Inc. when it left the San Antonio market.

With the additional locations, San Antonio-based H-E-B has nearly 50 in the metro area. It also purchased a former Albertsons store in Leon Valley, TX. Albertsons left San Antonio and Houston earlier this year, saying that the stores in those markets were under-performers.

Along with the H-E-B purchase, Laredo-based International Bank of Commerce said it would open branches in five of the stores purchased by H-E-B. Those stores are Perrin Beitel Road at Thousand Oaks; Huebner Road and Northwest Military; US Highway 281 at Evans Road; and on Interstate 10 West in Leon Springs. Another location is Mission, a community in the Rio Grande Valley. The bank, a subsidiary of International Bancshares Corp., had branches in Albertsons stores and lost them when the stores closed.

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